Happy April Fool’s Day

When I was in college at Florida State back in the early seventies, we had an annual tradition of turning the student newspaper completely over to fake, funny news each April Fool’s Day.

The usual collection of straight news stories, meeting announcements and accounts of the woeful exploits of the 1973 Seminole football team (record that year: 0-11) were replaced by fanciful parodies written by our talented staff. Almost forty years later, I can’t remember many of the actual articles, except for one I recall that featured the nation’s first dead streaker, his lifeless body carried around Landis Green by a couple of friends.

In that same tradition of turning the tables on readers who expect one thing and get another on this annual day of frivolity, I present my humor post for April Fool’s 2011.

BNP Paribas introduces ‘THEAM’

LONDON (April 1) — THEAM is BNP’s new investment partner that will specialize in index, active systematic, guaranteed and alternative portfolio management, and the result of a joint project between BNP Paribas CIB and BNP Paribas Investment Partners.

THEAM will combine BNP Paribas Asset Management’s SIGMA teams with those of Harewood Asset Management (Harewood AM) which was created in 2004 at the initiative of BNPP CIB’s Equity Derivatives teams. Gilles Guerin has joined BNPP IP as CEO of THEAM.

With the growing convergence of the portfolio management techniques used by asset managers and capital markets expertise developed by corporate and investment banking groups, the proposal to merge Harewood AM and SIGMA was a logical move that aligns with the latest investor expectations in terms of liquidity, innovation and market access.

The joint venture means the two entities can support one another and combine their respective strengths to better serve their clients.

THEAM will draw in part on the SIGMA team’s acknowledged expertise in index and guaranteed portfolio management, risk allocation and absolute return strategies, while Harewood AM will provide its expertise in systematic funds, the use of innovative underlying assets and funds of hedge funds.

By pooling the strengths of BNP Paribas CIB and BNP Paribas IP, THEAM benefits from the best practices of both investment banking and asset management, thus offering innovation, responsiveness, transparency and security within a culture of long-term performance and solid customer relations.

The aim of the merger is to offer investment solutions that meet the needs of investor profiles across a broad spectrum of underlying assets (equities, bonds, commodities, volatility, currencies, etc.) and through the skilled application of an extensive range of investment styles. THEAM has been created to meet each investor’s specific requirements. The new entity will offer four main categories of portfolio management services:

Index management: via total or optimized cash or synthetic replication, its indexed funds offering and its EasyETF tracker funds are centred on the world’s leading financial indices.
Active systematic: based on algorithms and implemented by portfolio managers specializing in the use of arbitrage techniques, THEAM’s management approach ranges from full discretionary to full systematic. It is distinctive in its predominantly quantitative component, which provides optimized access to the various asset classes.
Guaranteed and protected management: From passive management with formulas funds to active management, THEAM offers protected or guaranteed solutions where the risky assets, or the guaranteed component, or both, are actively managed.
Liquid alternative management: THEAM offers its internal absolute return strategies under UCITS III funds, and also selects and assembles hedge funds and managed account to create liquid and transparent portfolios.

As a new BNP Paribas IP Partner, THEAM will be chaired by Dominique Hoenn and managed by Gilles Guerin as CEO. Gilles Guerin will be assisted by Denis Panel (CIO) as Head of Investment and Structuring, and Alexandre Mojaisky (COO) as Head of Sales and Support.

THEAM will have a Supervisory Board comprising six members (three from BNP Paribas IP and three from BNP Paribas CIB) and which will be chaired by Philippe Marchessaux.

“This ambitious project, which brings together the talents and skills in both corporate and investment banking and asset management, offers a unique opportunity for investors to access a vast range of investment solutions, and I am delighted that Gilles Guerin has agreed to take the helm,” said Philippe Marchessaux, CEO of BNP Paribas Investment Partners

Yann Gerardin, Head of Global Equities and Commodity Derivatives at BNP Paribas CIB, added: “This new entity will give clients the benefit of CIB’s innovation and research, combined with Asset Management’s expertise in developing tailored investment solutions.”

Davis Whiteman, an observer completely unaffiliated with BNP and totally ignorant about the arcane world of investment banking, added “Happy April Fool’s Day.”


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